Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Minnesota Grand Jury Issues 17 Count Indictment against Final Exit Network and Four of its Members

Stephen Drake &
Diane Coleman
Stephen Drake who is the research analyst for the disability rights group Not Dead Yet has been following the issues related to the Final Exit Network (FEN) for several years. FEN is a group that is oriented to assisting the suicides of people.

Drake quotes from the article in the Baltimore Sun and then comments.

This is what Drake wrote:

From the Baltimore Sun:
HASTINGS, Minn. — A Minnesota grand jury has indicted a national right-to-die group and several members for their actions in the 2007 suicide of a suburban Minneapolis woman, prosecutors announced Monday. 
The 17-count indictment charges the medical director of Final Exit Network, Lawrence Egbert of Baltimore, and three other officials with felony counts of assisting suicide and interference with a death scene, a gross misdemeanor. It also charged the New Jersey-based group in its corporate capacity. 
"This investigation and prosecution is not a politically motivated attack on the right-to-die movement," Dakota County prosecutor James Backstrom said at a news conference. "Rather, it is an effort to bring to justice a corporation and several of its officers and volunteers who we are alleging advised, encouraged or assisted Doreen Dunn in the taking of her own life on May 30, 2007, in violation of Minnesota law."
Here's a breakdown of the Final Exit Network (FEN) members and their alleged roles in Doreen Dunn's death:
The indictment names Egbert, 84; Jerry Dincin, 81, of Highland Park, Ill.; Roberta Massey, 66, of Bear, Del.; and Thomas Goodwin, 65, of Punta Gorda, Fla. Backstrom said Egbert and Dincin traveled to Minnesota to be with Dunn on the day she died, and that they likely dumped the equipment she used to kill herself in a trash bin on their way back to the airport.
The fact that Egbert was allegedly one of the 'exit guides' may bring some new heat and light in this (now) criminal case. As I mentioned last week, Larry Egbert was the subject of an extensive (if not terribly probing) interview published in the Washington Post last January. In the interview, he shared the fact that he 're-used' so-callled 'exit bags,' providing them to 'clients' so they wouldn't have to purchase them. He showed the reporter a large number of them stashed in a closet in his home.

It's essential, IMO, that the prosecutor bring this up at trial. If contrary to claims repeated even now in the current story that FEN 'doesn't provide' the means to commit suicide, Egbert provided the 'Exit Bag,' that is actual material assistance. Further, it could implicate Dincin, since it would be hard to hide the fact that Dunn was using a used 'exit bag' that Egbert brought, rather than one she purchased herself. That would also mean that the organization has been knowingly misrepresenting itself and its practices.

Is that shocking? Not really. When you have a bunch of vigilantes whose primary mission is to facilitate the suicides of total strangers, there really can't be any breach of integrity that's really surprising.  --Stephen Drake

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